Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
Religion News Service
Americans are generous people when it comes to donating money and time in the wake of natural crisis. Donations to the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the September 11 relief fund, and tsunami survivors have now reached almost $6 billion. Yet, amid all the talk of "compassion exhaustion," Americans from all walks of life continue to donate, even well into the holiday season. Helping to feed the fire of giving is a new breed of philanthropists – Generation Y. Gen Y has grown up appreciating their good fortune in a world they see vividly each day where TV and internet images convey a sense of urgency, which often translates into rapid donations. Richard Blackmon, President of RSI Institutional Services Group, said, "We have every reason to believe that the percentage change in charitable giving will outpace that of the gross domestic product, yielding a positive environment for capital campaigns to begin and to continue." In 2004, approximately 83 percent of U.S adults donated money to one or more nonprofit organizations, but the average pretax contribution of 3.2 percent of income indicates most Americans could be giving more in context of consumption patterns: Americans spend $23.5 billion a year on candy and gum, and $40 billion a year on weight loss.
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The father of a Pakistani Christian tortured to death by Muslim seminary students in 2004 requested police protection last week after receiving death threats for refusing to drop charges against his son’s attackers. Pervez Masih appealed for protection from radical Muslim clerics at a December 15 hearing. Islamists have stepped up pressure against Masih since the re-arrest last month of Maulvi Ghulam Rasool, charged with torturing Javed Anjum until he would convert to Islam. Members of a radical Islamic group have targeted Masih and his lawyer three times over the past three weeks. On each occasion small crowds of 50 clerics armed with pistols gathered outside the courtroom, yelling that they would not “spare the lives of liars,” and jostling the plaintiff as he exited trial hearings. The court has not yet taken action to ensure the safety of Masih and his lawyer.
The Communication Solutions Group
The Christian Academy (TCA), a private school of over 400 students in grades K-12, announced to families during a Dec. 13 Christmas concert that it will be receiving a $6 million bequest from the estate of Joseph and Emily Fisher, who founded the Chester-based Fisher Tank Company in 1948. “In this season of giving, we are thrilled to be the recipients of this most generous gift, which is unprecedented in our school’s 55-year history. It is true evidence that the Lord supports our mission,” said Dr. Timothy Sierer, Headmaster for TCA. “We are eternally grateful to Him and to the Fishers for this gift, which we believe will lead to many more blessings for TCA.” The size of the Fishers’ bequest was a blessing that took the TCA community by surprise. TCA is planning to use the donation as the seed from which The Christian Academy will be able to foster five distinct fundraising initiatives: The Blessing of Knowledge through Scholarship, The Blessing of Financial Independence, The Blessing of Superior Instructors, The Blessing of Shelter, and The Blessing of Advancing Christian Education.